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Paper Industry - statistics & facts

Paper is an important and ubiquitous material, used daily for many purposes worldwide. The global production of paper and cardboard stood at 419.72 million metric tons in 2018. More than half of that production was attributable to packaging paper, while almost one third was attributable to graphic paper. The world's three largest paper producing countries are China, the United States, and Japan. These three countries account for more than half of the world’s total paper production, while the leading paper importing and exporting countries are Germany and the United States.

Leading global paper companies

The leading companies of the forestry and paper industry based on market capitalization as of 2020 were UPM Kymmene and International Paper, based in Finland and the United States, respectively. In 2019, International Paper, one of the largest paper companies worldwide, generated 22.4 billion U.S. dollars of revenue, while Japanese company Oji Holdings made around 14 billion U.S. dollars. Other leading paper industry companies include the Indonesia-based Asia Pulp and Paper, Svenska Cellulosa of Sweden, Stora Enso from Finland, as well as Nippon Paper Group from Japan.

Global paper consumption

With some 421.88 million metric tons of paper consumed globally in 2018, the world's paper consumption is roughly equal to the amount of paper produced annually. China is the world's largest paper and paperboard consumer in the world, using more than 110 million metric tons annually, followed by the U.S. with a consumption rate of nearly 71 million metric tons.

Paper recycling industry

Since paper can be classified as a renewable resource, recovery is crucial within the paper industry. Paper, among many materials, has one of the highest recycling rates. In the United States, nearly 50 million short tons of paper and paperboard were recovered in 2019. The paper and paperboard recovery rate in the U.S. was 66.2 percent in 2019, which is nearly double the 1990 recovery rate of less than 34 percent.

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U.S. paper industry key facts

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